The Flashpoint R2 eVOLV200 Review

Lets start with the obvious here.  The Flashpoint R2 eVOLV 200 is a variance of the Godox ad200 and is sold at Adorama in the US.  This system appears to check all the boxes a photographer would want in a flash system.  It is small, portable, and at 200 watts of power brighter than a modern speed light at about the same size.  There are a stable full of accessories and gadgets that make the flash even more attractive.

Given that this system also has a transmitter for most of the major camera brands adds to the excitement.  I shoot medium format and full frame cameras from different manufactures.  Being able to use the same lighting system by just changing out the transmitter is a huge plus of not needing to buy portable speed lights for both systems.  The eVOLV 200 also has High Speed Sync (HSS) as icing on the cake.

Now that we’ve gotten all excited about the possibilities, let’s see how it performed the first time out.

Flashpoint eVOLV 200 kit with barn doors and case

Flashpoint eVOLV 200 kit with barn doors and case

What You Get In The Box

What comes in the box is a tricky question to answer.  The Flashpoint eVOLV200 comes in many different “kit” configurations.  Kits that I saw were:

  • Base Flash: This contains the strobe, battery, charger, a Fresnel style head (like what you see on a speed-lite), a bare bulb parabolic reflector head, and mount for a stand.
  • Flash With Barndoor:  This contains everything in the base plus adds a barndoor with a set of color gels.
  • Flash With Barndoor and 24 inch Softbox:  This kit adds a nice 24 inch softbox and adapter (needed to attach the eVOLV 200 instead of a speedlite).
  • 2 Base Flash With Barndoor and Duel Head:  This comes with 2 of everything in the Barndoor kit and adds a duel head accessory.  The duel head allows 2 strobes to be used together doubling the output from 200 to 400 watts.

Also note that most of these kits can be ordered in a specific manufacturer transmitter kit.  For example a Fuji, Sony, Canon, Nikon or Pentax transmitter.

As an added bonus the strobe comes with a bag that is really helpful.  Having a dedicated bag to store and transport the strobe and accessories is really nice feature. It helps ensure the strobe doesn’t get damaged or even better the accessories are always with the the strobe. The softbox also comes with a bag and collapses down really nicely (still not close to an umbrella, but still small enough to transport easily).

My Kit

The kit I purchased was the base flash with barndoor and 24 inch softbox, and is the kit I’m using for the first impression review.  The kit also had sleeves to carry the strobe on a belt.  I can see how this would be helpful especially for a wedding or portrait photographer.  I can see how I would use it while shooting at night, sunsets, or sunrises.  It will be convenient to just have in case I want to use some fill in the foreground.  For full transparency, the images I’m showing here were actually shot using two of these kits. Based on my first shoot the barndoor and softbox was worth the getting in the kit as I used both and they were vital to back lighting the glass and high lighting the fruit.

glow 24 inch softbox with adapter for evolv200

Glow 24 inch softbox with adapter for evolv200

Specs

As already mentioned the R2 eVOLV200 is a 200 watts lightweight portable strobe.  It is the most recent version of the 200 watt, 2.4GHz radio remote triggered strobes.  I’m not going to go into the super technical specs because you can easily see them here.  I will mention though, that there a few key specs that really interested me and they are:

  • High Speed Sync (HSS): Being able to increase my shutter speed is very exciting.  I use multiple cameras, and one of them is the Fuji GFX 50s. This camera has a sync speed of 1/125th of a second.  I found myself wanting to get a shallower depth of field and being limited to higher f stops to obtain proper exposure.  HSS will help eliminate this problem.
  • Portability: May current strobe set is a huge 600 watt each strobe set that require a huge external battery pack when I leave the studio.  These small, lightweight, but powerful strobes eliminates that problem.
  • Storage Space: Again back to the space issue.  Living in the city and needing to maximize all my square footage, and smaller strobe kit seems very helpful and appealing.

These are just the key features I was super interested in. They are in no way all the features these strobes have to offer.

There are a lot of features and things these strobes can do.  That said, the owners manual/instructions are must read to fully know what they are capable of.  Don’t expect to know how to use them though after reading the manual.  Best to start using them and figure it out.  I found myself getting a little confused with the manual, but when I started just using the strobes it totally made sense.

Build and Feel

The build quality on these strobes feels very solid.  More solid than I was expecting actually.  That said I don’t have enough time using the eVOLV200 to know if the build is as good as it feels.  In addition Adorama has a rubber sleeve that is available for added protection.  The strobe does come with a 24 month limited warranty so that is good as well.  I find most things have 90 days or as long as 12 months.

The feel of the eVOLV200 is where I have my first little complaint.  The strobe itself feels really balanced until you put the battery in it.  Then it feels like there is a lot of weight in the rear of the strobe.  This becomes important outside on location especially if there is a little breeze.  These things are too expensive to have them get blown over on a stand and hit the ground.  Just a little thing, but better make sure you have an assistant or a sand bag on location if you use an umbrella or softbox.

I’ll add here that I really thought the softbox was going to be more of a use it a couple times and get rid of it item, but it is constructed very well and I do appreciate that I can use it with these strobes or a speed light.  That said, some instructions on how to change out and use the adapter for the eVOLV200 would have saved me a fair amount of time.  You need a very small screw driver and have to remove the back that comes on the softbox to install the adapter.  There are 3 tiny screws that lined up perfectly once I figured out the back had to come off.

The Test Setup

First off, the experiment with these strobes does done in the studio before trying to carry them out on location, and especially before a paying gig.  How better to see how far you can push a flash than using it to back light glass and freeze water in in motion.  So that is what I did.  The setup was 2 strobes.  One behind the glass using a softbox and an additional diffuser to light the glass.  The other strobe was set up with barndoors to add fill to the fruit creating the motion of the water.  You can see a video done by workphlo on YouTube here that shows the setup using speed lights.

studio setup back light glass freeze water in motion splash with fruit

Part of the setup to back light a glass and freeze water in motion using fruit using the Fuji GFX 50s and the 120mm f4 Macro lens to do the eVOLV200 review. Note the second strobe with barndoors to light the fruit.

 

studio after shot of freezing water in motion softbox and evlov200 strobe

Part of the setup to back light a glass and freeze water in motion using fruit using the Fuji GFX 50s and the 120mm f4 Macro lens. Note the soft box and additional diffuser to soften the light.

The Results

The strobes were used on manual for this shoot, mostly because I wanted to start learning how they worked and how I could control them.  They powered up fast and were very intuitive to use.  The results were great as well.  I was very happy to see that the strobe had enough power to backlight the glass through a softbox and an additional diffuser.  I’ll add that this was a fun experiment.  It was messy, and there was a lot of clean up and it was worth it.  The hardest part of the whole thing was timing the fruit hitting the glass.  Then looking to see what the camera captured.

tangerine wedge splashed into martini glass back lighting with eVolv200 strobes

Tangerine wedge splashed into a martini glass image using the Fuji GFX 50s and the 120mm f4 Macro lens, and Flashpoint evolv200 strobes.

I was able to use ISO 100 and f11 while shooting these and not over exposing the images in the studio.   Even better I didn’t even have to use the HSS to do it.  This was a huge success over the 600 watt heads I have been using.  When dialed on their lowest setting in the studio, I would still be over exposing images at f22.  The eVOLV200 at 200 watts seemed to be a great balance of power, and I can’t wait to try out the HHS later.  The white balance on these strobes seemed really good.  There was not a lot of variation and the output was very neutral between cool and warm.

Next, I noticed how the barndoor really helped narrow in the fill light to just the fruit and not create hot spots on the glass.given the small size of these strobes the barndoor really let you focus the light in a specific area.

Flashpoint eVOLV200

Looking At The Detail

Really when trying to freeze motion it is all about how crisp the moving object is.  This is super important when trying to guide a person’s eye to a particular part of the image.  Let’s look at how well this strobe helped us freeze the motion of the fruit.  The first image below is of a lemon being dropped in the glass creating a splash.  The next image is a crop of the fruit.

lemon wedge splashed into martini glass back lighting with eVolv200 strobes

Lemon wedge with seeds splashed into a martini glass image using the Fuji GFX 50s and the 120mm f4 Macro lens, and Flashpoint evolv200 strobes.

 

lemon wedge seeds splashed into martini glass back lighting with eVolv200 strobes

Cropped detail of lemon wedge with seeds splashed into a martini glass image using the Fuji GFX 50s and the 120mm f4 Macro lens, and Flashpoint evolv200 strobes.

It does really help that these images were shot with the Fuji GFX 50s, since it is has some amazing detail.  This is still some really great detail and crisp focus for an object that was moving when the shutter was popped.  The eVOLV200 did a great job of freezing the motion of the water and the lemon.

Summary

How else to say it.  My first impression is that the eVOLV200 is a very capable strobe in the studio or on location (looking forward to taking them out).  It is lightweight and portable, but strong enough for studio work.  There are many available accessories that make the possibilities with the flash even greater.  I’m told that the transmitters and receivers work with Godox branded products as well. 

There are a couple small nits.  The balance when the battery is in the strobe, or the owners manual that could use help to be helpful were the biggest.  These are easy things to overcome given all the positives.

These strobes are definitely going to end up in my bag.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Small
  • Portable (Battery Operated)
  • Stronger Than A Speedlight
  • Lots of Accessories
  • Transmitters That Work With Lots Of Major Manufacturers
  • High Speed Sync

Cons

  • Kind of Expensive If Not On Sale
  • Battery Weights The Back Of The Unit (Easy To Tip On Stand)
  • Manual Could Use An Upgrade
Back lit martini glass tight crop lime wedge frozen splash

Lime splashed into a martini glass image using the Fuji GFX 50s and the 120mm f4 Macro lens, and Flashpoint eVolv200 strobes.

I hope you enjoyed this Flashpoint eVOLV200 review.  Look for more detailed reviews as I use the strobes more.

Leave me some feedback, or thoughts in the comment section below.  Do you have the strobes currently?  What other strobes are you looking at?  Don’t forget to look at the other images in the galleries while you are here.

 

For clarity I do not work for Adorama or Godox.  This is an independent review.